1500 athletes are in Towson from across the state for the 48th Maryland Special Olympics Summer Games.
The theme this year “This is me”, a message that athletes can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.
“The training with this is building a bigger relationship and I love it,” James Jones an athlete from Montgomery County said about training for javelin.
The core values are respect, improvement, excellence, honesty, and commitment.
“Special Olympics is kind of like a huge family,” said Special Olympics Director of Communications Kira Northrop. “When you join Special Olympics Maryland, we are here with open arms. There is no judgment we are all about inclusion. Together we are all working towards one goal which is creating an opportunity is not limited by disability.”
The athletes are competing in swimming, bocce, softball, cheerleading, and track and field.
Casper Norriss an athlete Anne Arundel County has taken home the gold in bocci 5 years in a row.
“Practice, we got coaches, I’ve been doing this five years,” said Norriss. “Every single practice the coaches are taking out and teaching us how to get the ball to roll further, how to roll shorter, how to put a curve on a ball to hit one of the others if you have to. It’s all the coaches teaching us.”
For the last two weeks, law enforcement officials from across the state have been carrying the torch leading up to this moment.
“It’s a powerful movement, the athletes are amazing and it’s just so rewarding,” said Montgomery County Police Officer Barbara Natoli. “With the climate the way it is, a lot of negativity toward police. It’s so amazing to come here and feel the energy, you can feel the energy from the crowd just to feel how much you’re appreciated. They give us a reason to keep going.”."
The games go all weekend wrapping up on Sunday.
In July 76 Maryland athletes will head to Seattle for the National Special Olympics Summer Games.